As a teacher for 26 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes in public education. Every day, the students sit in my classroom staring at their iPads. There are some real benefits to these devices. I can send them into the world to find answers, spell words, or create informational presentations without leaving the room. There are some real disadvantages to constant access to technology. Life is not a Cool Math video game.

In junior high, we were given a new, blank tablet (a stack of bound paper, not an electronic device) and a new pencil every marking period. When I was a senior in high school, we had one huge computer tucked away in a closet near the guidance counselor’s office. It contained a list of colleges, nothing more. When my dad was in school, first through eighth graders learned in the same room under the same teacher. Things have changed a bit.

Let’s see how much you know about the changes in public education. I’m a teacher. I give pop quizzes. Good luck. If you pass, I promise not to give you an essay assignment. If you fail, watch out! Of course, there’s always ChatGPT for writing that essay.

Reply to this post if you want to know the answers, and I’ll get back to you with your score.


1. What year first saw a law requiring all American students to attend school through the elementary grades?

A) 1918

B) 1852

C) 1952

D) 1880


2. What classroom feature was added to a Scotland school in 1801 and first appeared in U.S. classrooms at West Point?

A) The world globe

B) The writing tablet

C) Blackboards

D) The dunce cap


3. The first horse-drawn kid-hacks or school wagons appeared in 1852 in Massachusetts. What Allen’s Cove, Pennsylvania resident began taking children to school in his horse and wagon in 1920?

A) Dwight D. Eisenhower

B) Harold E. Rohrer

C) Milton Hershey

D) Lee Iacocca


4. What 1954 Supreme Court case ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional?

A) Plessy v. Ferguson

B) Brown v. Board of Education

C) Regents of the University of California v. Bakke

D) Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education


5. What world event led to the National Defense Education Act that included math and science education funds?

A) The attack on Pearl Harbor

B) The break up of the Beatles

C) The launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik I

D) The invention of the microchip


6. When did schools in the United States first start incorporating physical education into their curricula?

A) 1920s

B) 1950s

C) Late 1800s

D) 1970s


7. What U.S. city first introduced music classes through the help of singing instructor Lowell Mason in the 1830s?

A) Pittsburgh

B) Sheboygan

C) Detroit

D) Boston


8. What topics were included in the 1920s health education classes?

A) Nutrition, disease control, and hygiene

B) Physical fitness and mental strength

C) The history of pandemics, especially The Black Plague

D) Motor and bicycle safety


9. What contributed to the decreasing popularity of shorthand classes starting in the 1960s-1980s?

A) The typewriter becoming obsolete

B) The adoption of stenography machines

C) Advances in word processing technologies

D) Nobody could figure out how to do it


10. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1918 provided funding for what educational offering?

A) Votech

B) School lunches

C) Driver’s education

D) Teacher training


11. What movement replaced George W. Bush’s 2002 No Child Left Behind Act?

A) Back to Basics Act

B) Every Child Succeeds Act

C) Give Every Kid an iPad! Law

D) Progressive Education Movement


12. What does STEAM stand for?

A) Social studies, Trades, English, Arithmetic, & Music

B) Students teaching English and mathematics

C) Science, technology, engineering, art, & math

D) Survey, topography, economics, atlases, and maps


13. What decade saw the implementation of Special Education resources like IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), full inclusion practices, and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs)?

A) 1890s

B) 1930s

C) 1970s

D) 2000s


14. What was the name of the 1972 amendment that prohibited gender-based discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities?

A) Common Core

B) No Child Left Out Standing In Any Field

C) Education for All

D) Title IX


15. What U.S. President was responsible for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test (which I successfully failed every year)?

A) Harry Truman

B) Lyndon B. Johnson

C) John F. Kennedy

D) Richard Nixon


16. What educator, in 1837, worked to “ensure” unified school systems for all students? He was known as “The Father of American Education.”

A) John Dewey

B) Horace Mann

C) Booker T. Washington

D) Bill Nye


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